Opening: March 21, 2024

Duration: March 21 – May 18, 2024

Galerie Krinzinger is dedicating its third solo exhibition to Colombian artist Johanna Calle (*1965 in Bogotá) in its exhibition space at Seilerstätte 16. INDENTURES presents a selection of Calle’s complex and symbolically charged works on paper, which find their origins primarily in the post-colonial realities of her Latin American background. Using an expanded concept of drawing and following intensive research, her refined artistic practice sheds light on social injustices, state repression, the elimination of cultural identity and the destruction of social and ecological environments.

The exhibition INDENTURES provides insight into Calle’s fascinating body of work, in which the artist uses language as a crucial element for visualizing exploitation of power, oppression and the destruction of nature. In her Dibujos fotográficos, for example, the artist places text fragments of historical documents on vintage black-and-white photographs in order to reflect changes in the environment caused by migratory movements, agriculture and the associated environmental devastation through the contrast between the depiction of the real and the written. In Erial 1 (2024), the artist in turn worked with sheets of vintage, unused notarial books that were common in Colombia at the end of the 19th century and for several decades of the 20th century, on which she transcribed various texts in the form of a tree referring to the unlawful distribution of property during the colonial period under the Spaniards. The shape of the tree not only references its historical function as proof of land ownership, but also epitomizes the rainforests, whose resources are mercilessly exploited without anyone being held accountable for its destruction.

In her most recent series of works, INDENTURES Johanna Calle continues to explore these aspects of land ownership in Latin America. On a total of ten so-called Indentures, historic legal documents from the 19th century that served to identify the owners of a piece of land, the artist painted transient depictions of trees in oil paint. In these works, the artist changes her previous working method by drawing on existing legal texts as historical documents and juxtaposing them with the depiction of the tree. In doing so, Calle draws upon the inability of illiterate landowners who were unable to fully comprehend the meaning of these official documents. The tree – namely nature – which has long been considered a temporal determinant of land ownership claims, as well as a means of visualizing land ownership, stands in sharp contrast to the juridical language used in the notarial system of the Indentures. In her series INDENTURES Calle places these two contrasting systems in an intriguing dichotomy, illustrating the ongoing juridical mechanisms of unlawful appropriation of land in South America.

In her delicate, almost poetic drawings, Johanna Calle uses language and texts as a part visual, part contextual method to visualize mechanisms of violence, exploitation, and the destruction of nature. With INDENTURES Galerie Krinzinger is showing a cross-section of Johanna Calle’s multi-layered and complex work – an exhibition of absolute urgency in times of multiple crises.